Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency said it would vaccinate more than 900,000 children in the state against the circulating vaccine-derived poliomyelitis.

The Director-General of the agency, Dr Janet Ekpenyong, made this known in Calabar on Monday at the flag off the outbreak response round 2 polio by the Wife of the Governor, Dr Linda Ayade.

According to the governor’s wife, the state government will continue to implement various initiatives to safeguard the health of residents of the state.

She said that although Cross River had been certified polio-free, conscious efforts must be put in place to ward off the threat of the virus.

She said that part of the efforts was the flag off of the vaccination against polio virus in Cross River.

“We are gathered here in response to the outbreak in the country and this gathering is a call for the second round of immunization to kick polio away from Cross River.

“We have heard that our neighboring states have encountered this outbreak, but we are always fortunate. If we don’t take proactive actions, we would have an unfortunate situation”.

“One negative thing about polio is that when it starts, it is a little bit late to prevent it. So it is better to prevent it. We do not want to have any deformed children.

“Therefore, there is need for us as a state to continue with our vaccination strategy to improve the health of our children and guarantee their survival,” she said.

Also speaking, Ekpenyong said that mothers and caregivers needed to make their children available for vaccination.

“We have heard of cases of the circulating vaccine-derived poliomyelitis which is the type 2 poliomyelitis that has been recorded in the country.

“This particular intervention is a proactive activity to ensure that children who are in hard-to-reach areas can be covered.

“We urge parents and caregivers to avail their children of this opportunity to be covered and protected against poliomyelitis.

“We are targeting about 900, 000 children in Cross River and with the response we have gotten so far, I am sure we will exceed the target,” she said.

Also, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, said it was essential for people to ensure that eligible children within communities are adequately vaccinated

“We must ensure that our communities are rid of the virus because as long as wild poliovirus is still in circulation in neighboring states, Cross River remains at risk,” she said.

Edu said that during the exercise, vaccination teams would visit residential homes, schools, churches, mosques, gated estates and all public places where eligible children will be vaccinated.